A time of uncertainty: The effects of reporters’ time schedule on their work

Zvi Reich, Yigal Godler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study is the first systematic attempt to examine the role of time constraints in journalists’ daily routines and practices, at the level of individual news items. Long-standing concerns about journalism’s “stopwatch culture” and the negative impact of time pressures on newswork have been exacerbated in the digital age by growing demands for multi-platform technological proficiency, resulting in “hamsterization” of journalistic work. Through the step-bystep reconstruction of work processes underlying over a thousand discrete news items (N = 1023), this study traces statistical correlations between the amount of time at the reporters’ disposal and the extent and complexity of journalistic work, across Israeli television, radio, print and online news outlets, outlining the implications of three temporal segments (pre-assignment, work duration, filing-to-publication) for all four media types. Consistent with the received wisdom among scholars we found, inter alia, that in cases of time shortage, newswork contained systematically less diversity and cross-checking, greater involvement of public relations, fewer senior sources and ordinary citizens, and fewer leaks. We conceptualize the reporters’ time schedule as a meta-constraint, embodying developments such as dwindling workforce, homogenization of news content across media, and technological innovations which cause both necessary and unnecessary accelerations in news production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-618
Number of pages12
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Deadlines
  • Israel
  • Journalism
  • News practices
  • Speed
  • Time pressure Introduction

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